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01/10/11
Foreclosure mess easing
Filed under: General, Real Estate
Posted by: Lillian Wong @ 11:01 pm

Metro Phoenix’s foreclosure activity likely peaked in 2010.

The 2010 tally for pre-foreclosures, or notice of trustee sales, in the region is 79,637. That’s an 18 percent drop from 2009, when a record 97,141 were filed, according to Information Market, a real-estate analysis firm.

Foreclosures, known as trustee sales in Arizona, did tick up slightly in metro Phoenix to 49,808 from 47,992 in 2009. Last year’s foreclosure number is artificially low because of Bank of America’s two-month moratorium during October and November.

But the drop in pre-foreclosures is a positive sign for metro Phoenix’s housing market. Pre-foreclosures have been dropping steadily since July. December’s count of 5,475 is the lowest level for notice of trustee sales in the region since March 2008.

Lenders typically file a notice to foreclose after a homeowner is at least three months behind on payments.

The span between the trustee-sale notice being filed and the trustee-sale foreclosure has lengthened to several months because of loan modifications and lender issues.

Housing experts believe foreclosures will climb during the next few months as BofA works through its moratorium backlog.

But that shouldn’t impact pre-foreclosures and could inflate foreclosures for only a few months.

To declare 2010 the peak for foreclosures, notice of trustee sales need to keep falling during the next few months, and then foreclosures must follow with similar declines this summer.

Chase agreement

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office and Chase Home Finance have worked out an agreement that will help homeowners.

Chase has agreed to adopt a “borrower’s bill of rights” and pay $600,000 toward the state prosecutor’s efforts in helping homeowners in foreclosure.

The deal, reached late last week, calls for Chase to provide clear information on how to obtain a modification and avoid foreclosure; make decisions on borrowers’ modification requests within 30 days; stop home foreclosures during active loan-modification negotiations; and appoint one contact for each borrower seeking modification.

Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard had been negotiating with BofA to commit to the borrower bill of rights, among other things, before suing the lender for mortgage fraud last month.

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic Jan. 5, 2011 12:00 AM



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